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Just married in September this year. Our filing status is unclear as we will have been married only three months.

Filing status is your marriage status as of Dec 31, 1999 with a number of exceptions. If you're recently widowed, you may file as married. If you're separated and do not live together/share expense for the whole year, then you may file as single.

In your case, your filing status for 1999 is married.

I also wish to establish a Roth and want to maximize the contribution for '99. However, I understand there are potential severe restrictions depending on how we file. For '99 tax year, can we file as singles? Or do we have to file as married whether it be jointly or separately?

See above regarding filing status. You have to file married. If you file married separately, then the phaseout for the Roth start at $0.
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